Chapter 562 – Qualification Test (3)
Yeon-woo left Ura.n.u.s’ temple with a surly expression, two black eyes decorating his face. ‘I can’t believe this happened to me as soon as the quest started.’ Why did he have to be punished for something that someone else did? His first mistake was dodging the furniture Ura.n.u.s had thrown at him. Since Kronos’ body was about the same as his own—and was even more comfortable in some ways—he managed to dodge the furniture with ease.
However, it only infuriated Ura.n.u.s even more, and Ura.n.u.s said that he would see the end of his youngest son that day. It hadn’t been easy for Yeon-woo to defend himself since Ura.n.u.s was not an easy foe. It had taken Yeon-woo a while to escape him. ‘That dirty-tempered geezer.’ Yeon-woo clucked his tongue thinking of the way Ura.n.u.s had shot holy power out like lightning. ‘I can see why the G.o.dly societies place Olympus in a different category from themselves. Anyone with that personality is bound to be surrounded by enemies.’
Ura.n.u.s, Olympus’ first supreme G.o.d, had a horrible temper, and based on Ura.n.u.s’ words, the next ruler, Kronos, was a good-for-nothing. Yeon-woo began to worry about the quest. Who knew how long he would have to deal with the consequences of Ura.n.u.s and Kronos’ battles? However, although he didn’t like it, it was strangely less annoying than it ought to be. He could see that Ura.n.u.s’ anger at Kronos had stemmed from a fatherly love and regret.
Yeon-woo had never experienced that before. Ura.n.u.s was just like Yeon-woo’s warm and loving mother. ‘I must be exhausted if I’m thinking useless thoughts like these.’ Yeon-woo shook off his melancholy thoughts and told himself to get a grip. Fortunately, his meeting with Ura.n.u.s had produced some useful information.
[You have gained a clue about the swamp from Ura.n.u.s.]
[It is likely the clockwork springs are in this location. You are advised to explore and examine this site.]
‘Looks like the system messages will tell me which direction to take.’ Yeon-woo realized then how he would have to progress with the quest. ‘First, I’ll keep myself to actions that don’t affect Kronos’ legends too much. I think I’ve figured out Kronos’ personality, so I’ll just react accordingly to any events that might come up during this quest.’ His priority was to find the swamp of darkness. ‘But I have an idea where it might be. It’s probably something like a hidden card or secret weapon Olympus has to deal with the current danger they’re facing.’
Olympus likely desired more strength for the battle with Mother Earth, not to mention their other troubles, such as dealing with the Heavenly Demon. They had probably created the swamp of darkness to help them gain more power.
‘If Ura.n.u.s asked Kronos about it, that means he’s expecting something from Kronos.’ Yeon-woo wondered what it might be and quickly arrived at an answer. ‘Apostle of the Black King.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes darkened. ‘It’s hard to say whether this was Ura.n.u.s’ intention all along or it was a coincidence that Kronos was chosen, but this is probably around the time that Kronos became the Black King’s Apostle.’
However, there was something that Yeon-woo didn’t understand. Ura.n.u.s had said he didn’t have much time left. What did that mean? Yeon-woo was still thinking this over when he abruptly halted, feeling someone glaring at him from behind a column. Pause!
“There’s nothing more pathetic than spying on someone, is there?” Yeon-woo tried to imitate Kronos’ personality, his lips twisting in a smile. He found it strangely easy to act the part. Even he could sense how irritating his smirk looked, and he was sure it was enough to get on the other person’s nerves.
“You d.a.m.ned b.a.s.t.a.r.d…!” The person spying on him walked out with gritted teeth. Although he had immense holy power, he was even more injured than Yeon-woo was. Yeon-woo recognized him right away.
‘Iapetos.’ Yeon-woo had fought him when he first arrived in Tartarus. ‘So that’s the pathetic guy that Kronos beat up.’ Yeon-woo scoffed to himself. People said one’s true colors always showed. It turned out that Iapetos had always been a pathetic loser. Anyone else would hide in embarra.s.sment from being beaten up by their youngest sibling, but Iapetos was truly an idiot.
Iapetos saw Yeon-woo’s judgemental expression. “You…!” Clenching his fists, Iapetos glared at Yeon-woo, but he didn’t try to attack. His confidence had drastically dropped after his beating.
This only confirmed Yeon-woo’s poor impression of Iapetos, and he decided that it would be a wate of time to deal with him any longer. “If you don’t have anything to say, I’ll be off.” Yeon-woo smirked again as he pa.s.sed Iapetos.
Iapetos glared at Yeon-woo until Yeon-woo was gone. Then, he kicked a column.
* * *
“Oh my, oh my! Oh, dear! Are you alright, Master? What should we do? It must hurt a lot! Lord Ura.n.u.s shouldn’t have gone this far…!” Yeon-woo felt awkward at the dismay of his nanny, Ananke. Her concern was genuine as if she were fussing over her son or brother. It was a warm emotion he hadn’t felt from anyone after his mother pa.s.sed away. It was surprising that Kronos had been so loved. ‘If that’s the case, how did he end up turning into such a jerk? That’s a talent, too.’ Yeon-woo clucked his tongue.
On the way from Ura.n.u.s’ temple to Kronos’ residence, he had seen the gazes of the divine beings. Many quickly looked down to avoid his eyes or took a detour away from him. When he asked a female servant something, she collapsed because her legs shook too much to support her. Yeon-woo realized that Kronos was even worse than he’d imagined. What had Kronos done for everyone to behave like this around him? Thanks to this, Yeon-woo was having a hard time talking to others.
“I’m all right. Don’t make a fuss.”
“There’s something I want to ask.”
Ananke glared at Yeon-woo disapprovingly when he refused to be treated. She asked, sulking, “What trouble are you in now?”
“It’s not what you’re thinking, so don’t worry. Before that, back when I beat up Iapetos…”
“Oh! Are you talking about Atlas?”
“Atlas?” Atlas had taken Kronos’ side even after Zeus’ rebellion. He was the t.i.tan whose punishment was to carry the world eternally on his back. Why was she saying his name now?
“Since you were quite drunk at the time, I suppose you didn’t hear. That’s the name of the warrior you rescued. He was quite timid for his size. Iapetos was hara.s.sing him for being dull-witted, and you rescued him when you pa.s.sed by.” Ananke c.o.c.ked her head. “I barely managed to send him away because he kept saying he wanted to repay you. I suppose you’ve only just remembered it now. What should I do? Should I summon him?”
“No. It’s fine.” Atlas was different from the Atlas Yeon-woo knew about. He waved his hand, thinking the quest would probably get longer if he involved himself with Atlas too much. At the same time, he thought that Kronos wasn’t as bad as he’d believed.
* * *
A few days later, Ura.n.u.s gave orders to launch an exploration of the swamp of darkness. In the meantime, Yeon-woo looked into Kronos’ reputation and gathered information about this time period. He learned enough about Kronos and grew more comfortable with the quest. He was ready to really get started.
“Me. Atlas. Protect. Lord Kronos. Definitely.” A guy so ma.s.sive that he could be one of the giant race approached with booming steps.
“He pleaded desperately to repay you or at least be your servant. I had no choice but to let him join. He says he has the blood of giants in his lineage, so he will be of help to you somehow.” Ananke carefully peered at Yeon-woo while speaking. She was nervous because she didn’t know what his reaction would be.
However, Yeon-woo just glanced at Atlas without saying much and headed into the forest where the expedition party waited. Some of the members had already arrived.
“How timely of our youngest to arrive now.”
There were ten people, each one with a fierce holy power and sharp gaze. Iapetos was among them.
‘The children of Ura.n.u.s.’ They all wanted to inherit Ura.n.u.s’ throne. They would later be called the twelve great G.o.ds of Kronos’ age and be the ancestors of the t.i.tan race. Yeon-woo had learned that Ura.n.u.s’ children weren’t his biological children. ‘They’re successors of various societies that Ura.n.u.s gathered to establish Olympus.’
In other words, they were adopted in order to help unite Olympus. This was why even though they were siblings, they didn’t have any brotherly or sisterly love since they were rivals who were fighting over the throne. Four stood out in particular.
Ocea.n.u.s, the oldest, smiled gently at the back of the party. Theia, the imperious second daughter, had the same domain as Ura.n.u.s did: the heavens.
‘Kronos, the youngest, but the one who has the most holy power.’ This was the body that Yeon-woo currently possessed. And the last one…
‘Is she not here yet?’ Yeon-woo looked at the empty seat. He had seen the other t.i.tans in Tartarus, but this last being was someone he’d never seen before. ‘And there’s something I want to confirm too.’
Yeon-woo grew contemplative, but Iapetos spoke up in a scornful voice meant for him to hear. “The younger ones are the worst. They’re acting like this even though they know it’s Father’s orders.”
However, the other siblings also seemed to think of Iapetos as a moron because they didn’t even pretend to pay attention to him. Only Ocea.n.u.s soothed him. “He must be quite busy. It isn’t too urgent yet, so there’s no need to rush. The more you rush, the more you may mess things up.”
Since he couldn’t talk back to the oldest sibling, Iapetos just pressed his lips together with a displeased look and remained silent. Ocea.n.u.s looked at Yeon-woo with a smile still on his face. “Kronos. Do you know where that child went?”
‘How am I supposed to know?’ Yeon-woo shrugged, and Ocea.n.u.s’s eyes narrowed with a laugh.
“Nothing can be done then, I suppose. Let’s just wait here for now.”
At that moment, Yeon-woo sensed someone running over to them. ‘She’s here.’ Yeon-woo turned toward the being who had even more holy power than the other siblings.
“Sorry, I’m late.” As soon as she appeared through the gra.s.s panting with an apologetic expression, Yeon-woo closed his eyes tightly. He’d been dreading this as soon as he realized that Kronos looked like his father.
It was Rhea, the youngest daughter of Ura.n.u.s, the biological mother of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades—and the main reason behind Kronos’ fall. Her face was achingly familiar.
‘Mother.’ It was the face he missed the most. More beautiful and youthful than he remembered, his dead mother stood in front of him.